My experiences in Springfield IL have been interesting, to say the least. Sure, there have been some really fun parties and some exciting shows. But what has stood out to me throughout the years that I’ve been performing there on tour has been the ghost town feeling that Springfield can have. I’ve walked down those streets at five in the evening before to find all of the local businesses closed and the public parks and attractions abandoned. Seriously, it’s eerie. Springfield has over one hundred thousand residents in it, where is everybody after five?


Hailing from the aforementioned city, Ghost Hollow Road captures this ghost town chill in their record “I Know You’ve Waited So Long”. Armed with a mandolin and a guitar, this two-piece folk/country outfit sings songs of desolation and perseverance in the face of despair. The opening track, “Snake Handler’s Jig”, builds the energy of a Pentecostal church that’s chasing away the bad spirits while whipping snakes in the air. The preachers are here, and they’ll lead the community away from the haunted alleys and streets that come out in the evenings.


I’ve seen the bars of Springfield come alive after that tune is played, the chill of quiet leaves the air and the energy of people come together during songs like “Soiled Dove”, a celebratory tale of a man neglecting all other things in his life including hygiene in order to make haste to arrive to his favorite brothel to “spend a week’s pay.” Other numbers such as “Dead to Me” bring a smart-ass tap into your foot while humming along with the cantor during his poem to his ex-lover. He’s not afraid to point out his own flaws, but at the same time he’s sure to let her know that she’s dead in his mind. It’s abrasive and endearing at the same time, sung with an upbeat mandolin riff.


My favorite song on this album is “Dead Man Riding”. A slower number, which doesn’t fully allow the listener to flee the feeling of a ghost town but at the same time embraces the introspection of loneliness. This song seems to me to be some kind of portrait of a broken man, he flees his life and his past but he can never escape what he has done. I’ve whistled this one to myself before when I’ve been in the hauntingly quiet streets of Springfield, on abandoned country roads and during lonely highway stretches at three in the morning. “Dead Man Riding” sticks with you in a good way after you hear it.


Again, it is paradoxical to me that the capitol of Illinois, with over one hundred thousand people in it can be so quiet in the evening. Ghost Hollow Road has embraced this and turned it into beautiful art. I’d encourage everyone to spend an evening in Springfield to experience what I’m talking about, but if you can’t do that at least pick this record up for your collection.


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Ando Ehlers | 
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